Britepaths' Food4Thought Program is excited to be working in partnership with Fairfax High School and local non-profits A Place to Stand and Food for Others to support the school's new student pantry, A Place to Eat. The pantry opened on January 16, and it allows students in need to pick up food and supplies to ensure that they have the supports they need if their families are struggling.
Local non-profit No Child Goes Hungry donated $1,000 to Britepaths' Food4Thought Program so we can provide grocery store gift cards to Fairfax High School to help them stock the pantry. In the photo below, Reverend Kären Rasmussen of NCGH (also Vice President of our Board of Directors) joined Fairfax HS Principal Erin Lenart on January 23 to present the donation. They were joined by our Programs Director Christina Garris, Katy Malesky of A Place to Stand, which is operating the pantry, and Nikki Clifford of Food for Others, which will provide food support as needed, and some parent volunteers.
Like many weekend food/backpack programs, Britepaths' Food4Thought started as a resource for local elementary schools. In recent years, Middle and High School staff and volunteers have come to us looking for solutions for students in need at their schools as well. Of our 20 Partner FCPS schools, we now have eight Middle and High Schools. Our expansion of upper-grade partners has been furthered in part through a generous 2019 grant from the TEGNA Foundation and WUSA9. Through a grant from Fairfax County, we continue to partner with Food for Others to assist as many students in need as possible. Food for Others largely focuses on providing weekend food packs to Title I Elementary Schools, while Britepaths provides support and some funding as needed to elementary, middle and high schools that are marshaling staff, volunteer and community resources to assist their own students in the way that works best for them.
The students who need food assistance might be receiving free or reduced-price meals or their families may be in crisis for other reasons, such as job loss, lack of affordable housing or health problems. A social worker at one of our partner High Schools told us about two sisters who were living with their mom, aunt and cousins. Their mom left, and though the sisters had been working multiple jobs to help out, they were struggling more without their mom and her income. The school's food pantry has been a great help to them.
Can You Help Hungry Students? It truly takes a village to make this effort successful, and we're so grateful for ours. Click Here to learn how you can help Fairfax HS or any of our FCPS partner schools, through donating food, funds or hosting a service project to create weekend food packs.